Report of SDPI delegation on ground situation of J & K after 50 days of clamp down

New Delhi: A 3- member delegation of the Social Democratic Party of India, (SDPI), comprising Vice President Adv. Sharfuddin Ahmad; General Secretary, Mohammad Shafi and Secretary Sita Ram Khoiwal, visited various parts of Kashmir and stayed there from September 24th to 26th, 2019.
The delegation acquired first-hand information about the ground situation in the Kashmir Valley created after total lockdown for last fifty days, since 5th of August 2019 when by an executive order of President of India, Article 370 was made inoperative and Article 35A of the Constitution of India was also scraped followed by an hurriedly passed legislation.
Facilities of communication including phone and internet were totally withdrawn and all the political leaders belonging to different political parties except BJP were detained. The life in Valley was generally put at a standstill. The labourers, tourists and students have forcibly been expelled from the Valley. The hotels were suddenly locked up and a large number of Army and Para military personnel with riffles were deployed.
During the fifty days period it is informed that more than ten thousand teenagers and social activists practicing in different professions as advocates, doctors and Mohalla heads have also been arrested and sent to jails out of Jammu and Kashmir. The detention day by day is been made tougher and inhuman. For example the political leaders detained in hotel Centaur have been put to more draconian measures. The entire Srinagar as well as other areas are lying lifeless as almost all the shops and other commercial establishments are closed, the tourism has totally collapsed and hotels are closed. The fruits in the peak season are rotting while dry fruits are getting wasted. Schools and colleges are closed and no life is visible on the roads as they are mostly deserted. The public transport is not available and people only in dire necessities and emergencies gather courage to come out on roads where rifle totting security men create an atmosphere of fear and devoid of normalcy.
The members of the delegation had interaction with important persons as well as commoners in supposedly highly disturbed areas of Srinagar as Soura and Downtown where tension is visibly prevalent due to high concentration of security personnel.
The landmarks of Srinagar viz. Jamia Masjid and Dargah Hazrat Bal are locked up where even Eid-ul-Azha and Jumah prayers have not been allowed since 5th of August. The abrupt decision of the Government of India has not only created unbearable difficulties for Kashmiris but also for other Indians who were staying in the Valley for different purposes. The Amaranth yatra was stopped second time in history by the government as first time, during the tenure of Mr. Jagmohan.
This was an admission season, the students and their parents staying in the Valley with the purpose to get admissions in the education institutions including NIT, were forced to immediately leave the Valley causing them immeasurable losses to the careers and finances. A number of students from educational institutions have been forced to join their families and as such the depression among the entire population is getting unprecedentedly high. There is an atmosphere of shock and helplessness.
Skilled labourers employed as carpenters, painters, electricians etc. were forcibly made to leave the Valley. The order of the Central government was made at a time when there is a blossoming season for tourism, agricultural products, marriage ceremonies and other activities. So, the authoritarian and unconstitutional move of the Central government has not put only the Kashmiris at pains but a large number of Indians have also been made deeply to suffer, denying them their earnings as well as normal way of life, snatching their legal and fundamental rights without any palpable reason.
The entire Valley has slipped into a reign of fear and is expecting worse to come in the light of statement that 50,000 temples shall be reconstructed. Kashmiris largely feel that a sinister scheme is afoot to change the demography and topography in the state. They have been made culturally and religiously unsafe and vulnerable. They also feel that the climate and environment shall be affected by the plan of handing over the land to big companies and the industry of traditional tourism and trade will end up if big corporates are allowed in the Valley to exploit its landscape and resources. The celebrations made by some persons and statement of hate by a section of political leaders following August 5th, has deeply injured the psyche of common Kashmiri.
Kashmiris feel pains at the migration of the Pandits. They claim that Pandits are integral part of their culture. They also cite incidents proving that first target of violence and terrorism were Muslims in the Valley. They also say that politics had largely ruined the true character of brotherhood and harmony. About 24000 Pandits still fearlessly live individually as well as in their clusters and villages like Kheer Bhawani. A palatial house has recently been constructed by a prominent Pandit of Srinagar Mr. Ashok Kak at Salman Farsi heights, near Nishat Bagh in Srinagar. There are a number of examples where the aged Pandits and abandoned temples are properly taken care of by Muslims. Even funeral of Pndits is solely performed by Muslims in accordance with Sanatan rites in some widely known cases.
There is pain into hearts of senior Kashmiris narrating that when attack was made from the side of Pakistan in October 1947, at the instance and provocation of Queen, the wife of late Hari Singh, lakhs of innocent Muslims were butchered by the Dogra Army but no action was ever taken against mass killings and genocide of innocent Muslims. Late King Hari Singh still commands high respect into hearts of senior Kashmiris.
On the basis of intense interaction with various representatives including intellectuals, doctors, advocates and social activists the SDPI delegation drew conclusion that majority of Kashmiris generally had settled their fate with India and willingly became Indians supporting the annexation. Kashmiris had out-reached to every state in pursuit of trades, services and education. They have been enjoying the democratic environs of the country. The effect of separatism had slowly slipped into oblivion and like other states under Article 371, they were also feeling safe by the special status regarding their demography and topography.
However, the sudden and abrupt change of 5th of August by the Central Government transgressing the democratic and the constitutional process putting a heavy hand and denying all the human, legal and constitutional rights to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir region by blackout of total communication services, stopping supply of eatables and medicines as well as banking and necessary items, scrapping statehood and deployment of gun-toting security men at every step on the roads and locality in the Valley has deeply injured the conscience of every Kashmiri.
While no hotel is functioning, the houseboats and boats are lying unused. Banking system and supply of fuel have collapsed. There is non-availability of life saving drugs and medicines in the markets.
Activities in lake water being stand still for almost two months, this has resulted in the growth of weeds in all lakes. These are now mostly covered by a large scale of unwanted weeds hiding water inside and making lakes dirty and unusable.
We may infer that the situation in Kashmir was as normal as in other states. There was no big incident of terrorism in any part of Srinagar or North Kashmir. Only South Kashmir was slightly disturbed so there was no need for drastic steps of deploying unprecedented number of security forces. After 5th August there has not been any violent protest or use of arms from any part of valley. There were no reports of large scale armed intervention. It was only sporadic or with stone pelting, in spite of grave provocation and active support across the border. We found out that despite of very bad situation, the Kashmiris generally are very positive in attitude and they have a confidence for a bright future of their people and the state. However, in aftermath of August 5th change, it is reported that hostile feelings are growing in the areas of Jammu and Laddakh too. The people of Jammu and Kashmir feel insulted and humiliated by uncalled for process and procedure adopted on 5ht of August in totally secretive and un-transparent manner against the letter and spirit of the democracy of our country. Now, the feeling of the Kashmiris in the Valley from the elderly to the child have been very anti-India and they are in unison demanding freedom.
SDPI being a responsible organisation thinks it proper and expedient that all the moves for immediate reconciliation be taken so that peace and normalcy in the Jammu and Kashmir may be restored forthwith. Thus, SDPI demands that atmosphere be urgently created so that we may save the integrity as well as integration of the country and to defeat hostile forces from internationalising of the Kashmir issue. So, to win back Kashmiris, SDPI urges immediate steps from the Central Government which are as follows:-
1. Restoration of the communication as before of August 5th 2019.
2. All the juveniles and teenagers as reported 13000 be immediately released.
3. All the political leaders and other prisoners incarcerated on and after August 5th be freed forthwith.
4. Civil supplies and medicines be immediately ensured in the markets of the Valley.
5. Jamia Masjid and Durgah Hazrat Bal along with other masjids and religious place be opened for public.
6. The trade and transport of fruits, dry fruits and handicraft items be immediately ensured.
7. Declaration of restoration of statehood of Jammu and Kashmir.
8. Declaration of restoration of the Article 370/35A of the Constitution of India.
9. Withdrawal of un-proportionate deployment of Armed forces by sending them back to the barracks and to the border.
10. Deployment of para-military forces on roads and the locality be reduced to rational level.
11. Democratic institutions in the state of Jammu and Kashmir be revived without further delay and the principles of autonomy as agreed upon by the Accession Treaty between the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Government of India be respected.